New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, carded an impressive two-under 68 in the first round at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. Today, he takes the stage for his second round, but first, I sat down with him and talked about his legendary father, New Zealand rugby hero Grant Fox. Fox’s father helped New Zealand win its first World Cup in 1987. But instead of choosing the brutally aggressive sport his father player, he went with golf. Although Fox didn’t carry on the family name in rugby or cricket, he had some special times with his father who caddied for him at the beginning of his golf career.
Fox turned pro in 2011 and is playing in his second PGA Championship this year at Bellerive. Earlier this year he finished in the top-50 in both The Open Chamionship and U.S. Open.
Katie: How are you feeling going into today?
Ryan Fox: I’m feeling good. Played nice yesterday for the most part. Finished with two birdies as well which is always a nice thing to do. It’s going to be hot this afternoon. Probably a little different for a boy from New Zealand but I’m looking forward to the challenge of it.
Katie: Yesterday you played with Michael Block, hometown boy, how was that?
Ryan Fox: It was good. He had a lot of support out there. It was just great to see his kids running around getting interviewed as well by a couple of the media guys. He was I really nice guy, he enjoyed it. I’m sure he would have liked to make a couple more birdies but he’s got a bit of game and hopefully he can get it going today.”
Katie: Can you talk a little about how you got into golf. Your father was legendary All Blacks member. I lived in South Africa, as in New Zealand, Rugby is the end all be all. Every little boy wants to grow up to be an All Black. How did you find yourself in golf?
Ryan Fox: Kind of a funny one really. Rugby and cricket were my main sports. My mom’s father played cricket for New Zealand back in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Golf was my third or even fourth sport, but in rugby I had too many concussions to keep going and cricket I didn’t enjoy as much. Then decided at 18, halfway through the first year of a law degree I decided to start playing tournament golf.
Katie: Did your father give you advice on how to deal with large crowds and stay mentally in the game?
Ryan Fox: Maybe not specifically. But Dad caddied for me basically every event I played as an amateur and also a little bit into pro. He was a goal kicker and goal kicking is obviously very similar. It’s very static, it’s very process and target base. Which is all the clichés you hear about golf.. stick to your processes, targets, and confidence. I learned a lot from his caddying for me and very lucky in the regard to have a resource like that not many people had growing up.
Katie: Did your father teach you the Haka growing up?
Ryan Fox: I wouldn’t say he taught me that Haka, maybe as a young kid but most people in NZ have a pretty good idea of what the Haka is like. The All Blacks have changed it now, they have a couple but most people know the original or at least know how to fake it a little bit.
Katie: Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to do it.
Ryan Fox: [laughs]That’s good.
Katie: Driving is obviously one of your strengths, can that be attributed to Rugby?
Ryan Fox: I think I got a build that’s a little bit bigger than most of the golfers. Definitely more like a rugby player so that definitely helps. I think some hand-eye coordination past down the genes has helped as well. Other than that, I just grew up always wanting to hit the ball hard whether it was playing tennis or playing cricket, unfortunately Rugby I was normally on the receiving end of getting hit hard. But it’s just carried on into provisional golf.”
Katie: Thank you for your time Ryan, we wish you the best of luck.
Ryan Fox: Thank you.
Watch the full interview: here